Dating from the very beginning of the seventeenth century, as the date carved above the fireplace prove, this property can rightly be proud of its rich and very long history. In the middle of the domain is an old well, which still resounds with voices and peals of laughter. If you listen carefully, it tells of the joys and sorrows of pilgrims on their way to Saint James of Compostela who, from the tenth to the fifteenth centuries, stopped here to quench their thirst.
These days the waters are just as pure, but their level is a little lower. This is because the property's owner, like Jesus at the wedding at Cana, contemplated the vineyard's potential and used his powers to change water into wine. Like the pilgrims of the Middle Ages, the vine stocks soak up strength, vigor, and sap from this generous terroir.But, if nature allows us to work miracles, it does require our assistance!
In 1770 the vines of Marbuzet were part of the considerable inheritance that Sylvestre Fatin left to his two daughters, Pétronille and Rose. In 1825 the property was sold to the MacCartny family, who were descendants of Irish Jacobites. In 1848, a bitter succession dispute led the MacCarthy family to sell the land in separate parcels. The Poissonier family acquired a seven-hectare parcel and named it Haut- Marbuzet. A hundred years later, in 1952, Hervé Duboscq bought the property under the viager system, paying a monthly sum until the death of its owner. Though without training in agriculture and oenology, he had a natural talent for viticulture.
The Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC is reserved only for wines produced in the communes of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Neac. This region from Bordeaux is located on one of the pilgrim paths that led to Saint James of Compostela. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Knights of the Order of Malta built refuges, hospices, and residences here. Dating from the twelfth century, the church of Lalande-de-Pomerol, the only one of its kind in Libourne, is the only remaining monument of the Hospitallers.
This Bordeaux region, in which vines have been cultivated since the tenth or eleventh century, extends west from Saint-Émilion. The landscape grows less rugged towards the valley of the Isle river.
Château Maison Blanche is a magnificent property of forty undivided hectares. Since the addition of the Lamarsalle vineyard—which also belonged to Lord Corbin’s domain—at the beginning of the twentieth century, this has become one of the biggest and most beautiful estates of the Saint-Émilion region. It is located a few acres from the meeting point of the appellations Lalande-de-Pomerol, Pomerol, Saint-Émilion, and Montagne-Saint-Émilion, and covers part of the lands of the ancient Gallo-Roman villa Lucianus.
The division of Roze Gruignet de Lobory’s estate on May 2, 1765 showed that a vineyard existed at that time on the land of today’s Château Maison Blanche. Considered one of the best crus of the Montagne-Saint-Émilion since the early 1900s, this Bordeaux wine is known throughout the world thanks to its distribution on all five continents.
Monsieur Pasquet bought this vineyard in 1990 and was able to draw on his previous experience working in Saint-Estèphe on the vineyards of Château Marbuzet—a useful apprenticeship.
When M. Pasquet acquired the vineyard, which produces a Premières Côtes de Blaye AOC cru, it was already in excellent condi¬tion, with the vines averaging twenty-five years in age. His first projects were to restore the stones of the longère —a long building typical or the region— to their original blond beauty, and to bring the cellar up to his standards. For the winemaking, a sorting facility was, added, so that only perfectly sound grapes would go into the vats.
In the twelfth century, the powerful Hospitallers of Saint John of Jerusalem established their first Libournais Commanderie in the Pomerol commune. Here they built a manor, a hospital for pilgrims on their way to Saint James of Compostela, and a church.
Though the vineyard was virtually abandoned and devastated during the Hundred Years’ War and the English occupation, it was re-established during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The vineyard again suffered during the Wars of Religion. From 1900, though, Pomerol’s wine-growers created a union to defend their appellation. One of their main objectives was to prevent winegrowers in neighboring communes from abusing the Pomerol name by stamping it on their casks.
Pomerol, wine, Poujeaux, Saint, Chateau, Bordeaux
Known as much for its architecture as for the excellence of its wines, Saint-Émilion dates from the Middle Ages. An interesting and unusual town, it has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, it is a jewel-box of old stone, built on a picturesque half-circle of hills facing the Dordogne valley. Its steep and narrow streets, its Roman and Gothic churches, its convents and cloisters all point to its prestigious past.
The main monuments still visible are the grotto of the hermit, Saint-Émilion, which faces the remains of his disciples’ monastery; the catacombs; and, next to these, the monolithic church, one of France’s largest underground churches.
The Saint-Estéphe commune is one of the most northerly of the Haut-Medoc. It enjoys an exceptional location along the Gironde, which is visible from most of the hilltops that make up this region.
The commune’s first known activity dates from the Middle Bronze Age, and its first vines were planted during the Roman occupation. As with other privileged wine-growing communes of the Medoc, Bordeaux wine merchants have played a key role in establishing the region’s reputation by storing and promoting the sale of its wines. The main estates were created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, small and medium-sized estates are again being grouped to create larger properties.
This hilly region’s gravelly out-crops, consisting of quartz and stone mixed with light and sandy soil, have excellent natural drainage. This is reinforced in the south by the Saint-Vincent channel, which takes the water of the Lafite marsh to the estuary, and in the north by the Mappon canal, which carries the water of the Vertheuil marsh.
The Saint-Julien parish has existed since the seventh century according to some historians, the eighth according to others. In its early days the parish was in the archdiocese of Moulis. Known as Saint-Julien-de-Reignac, the commune changed its name to Saint-Julien-Beychevelle in the first half of the twentieth century, adding the name of the small port and hamlet whose activity contributed to the wine’s fame. During the seventeenth century a few aristocrats and well- informed owners discovered the terroirsexceptional wine-growing potential.
This commune, practically in the center of the Haut-Médoc, is separated from Cussac in the south by marshland created by two streams originating in the Saint-Laurent region. Rising up from the Beychevelle marsh is the attractive gravelly crest of Beychevelle, and on the north-east is the Saint-Julien hilltop, separated from Pauillac by the Juillac stream.